Pottiphar's Wife Character Analysis

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Continuing the conversation began by womanist academic Renita Weems, Marlene Underwood exposes the cycle of abuse in the book of Job. Weems wrote on the “Battered Love” used by prophets in the Hebrew Bible. These prophets employ and exploit the metaphor of violence against women to illustrate their view of God’s violence against Israel. Underwood extends this assessment to Job, a man who assumes the role of an innocent, abused “wife” while God acts as the abusive “husband.” This striking claim holds up as Underwood compares the cycle of abuse to the narrative plot. The author pulls in the work of feminist psychologist Lenore Walker who defines domestic violence as existing in three distinct stages: “1. tension building, 2. the acute battering …show more content…
Within these six verses, the author continually repeats that Joseph was both favored and blessed by God. Entering into the house of Potiphar as favored and blessed by God adds to the first layer of rhetorical tension: Joseph is the hero in need of an anti-hero. Next, in verse four, Potiphar appoints Joseph as the supervisor of his house because Potiphar becomes aware of Joseph’s divine favor. During the time of the ancient writer, the Israelite and Egyptian societies were intensely patriarchal and women were primarily confined to the domestic sphere. In her one legitimate sphere, Potiphar’s Wife is now usurped by a foreign man, adding to the strain of her existence. After this dynamic change, the reader meets Potiphar’s Wife in verse seven. To add more injury, the writer chooses to keep her nameless – another way to force her into the role of villain. Underwood articulates that the abuser’s behavior in phase one’s tension building include steady escalation, deliberate actions, and friction. By stressing the virtues of Joseph, Joseph’s takeover of the domestic arena, and keeping the doomed female villain unnamed, the author gradually worsens and intensifies his view of Potiphar’s …show more content…
The writer unleashes abuse on Potiphar’s Wife in verses 10-17 in this explosive narrative sequence: she makes the same command and grabs Joseph’s garment, he runs outside where he can be seen, her sexual desires are now exposed, she decides to slander Joseph to the servants, and she slanders Joseph to her husband upon Potiphar’s return home. The tension between writer and character has built to this tragic moment. It is in Potiphar’s Wife’s accussal of rape that the writer exploits his audience. First, his audience consists of biased men reading about a male character who is a patriarch of their religion. Second, the writer reinforces stereotypes against women as sexually wicked. Third, a strong endorsement of distrusting foreigners, especially women, exists in the

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